[Solved] Replacing Idler Arm
Does a vehicle need to be jacked up and set on stands to replace an idler arm, or can you do it if it's accessible with all 4 tires on the ground? I'm going to try to replace the idler arm in my 1979 Catalina soon and I've noticed I can get at the arm's bolts with the car sitting on all four wheels.
No need to raise it if you have enough room to get at everything.
I was up underneath the car a few minutes ago comparing the new arm with the arm in the car, as well as the shop manual. There are a couple differences, mainly that the new arm seems to be rotated 90 degrees from how it should be when it's installed in the car. How difficult are these arms to rotate around their bushings? I can't rotate it holding it in my hands, but I have not tried to bolt it to the frame for leverage, yet.
The other difference is the frame mount on the new one is not a separate piece that needs to be set a certain distance before installation, the hole distances match the specifications within the tolerances. GM must have simplified these, as even the new "OEM" AC Delco arms do not appear to have this adjustment anymore.
Here's the actual installation procedure from GM's 1978 dealer's service manual. The car's arm matches this diagram, so it's probably the original. It looks like they made the idler arm itself separate from the support back then, and in the last 43 years, they went typical GM and made it all one piece to be cheap. This arm also fits several other GM vehicles.
are you replacing everything but the hub caps?
I borrowed a tie rod end puller from the store this morning that was more cupped and reinforced than the small pitman arm puller I used yesterday. It popped that stubborn idler arm right out and I got the new one in, in little more than 20 minutes. There's much less steering "memory" when turning right and back straight.
Should I pay to have the alignment rechecked after I put that new arm in? I put it in with all 4 wheels on the ground, so the wheel really couldn't move from where it was set with the old arm.